TheIncrediblePaco is a well-known content creator in the Mario Maker community, who was making his full-time living playing video games leading up to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tens of thousands of fans subscribe to his Twitch channel for live streams, and YouTube for edited videos. He became ill with COVID during the very first wave of the pandemic in March of 2020, and has never fully recovered. Long COVID has deeply impacted his life, and his ability to pursue content creation.
In this episode of the Major Pain podcast, Paco shares his long COVID journey along with updates on how he’s been doing since hitting pause on his gaming career. His initial COVID infection was fairly severe, but after a month he was able to return to streaming in a limited capacity. Although his fatigue was still concerning, he pushed himself to get back to regular streams and rebuild strength. Looking back, Paco wonders if this push may have contributed to the development of long COVID, as he soon hit a wall and fell into a frightening flare-up. He says, “My first year to year and a half of having long COVID was probably the scariest in the sense that my mind abandoned me….I felt like I had dementia. Word recall went out the window. Memories went out the window. People would talk to me, I would hear words but nothing was being processed.”
After about a year of rest he improved enough to return to streaming, but a few months later his health crashed once again. Since then he has been focused on researching long COVID and trying different therapies in the hopes of regaining some resiliency with his health.
During this interview Paco describes what it’s like to live with long COVID, including his frustration that the world has moved on from the pandemic while so many are still suffering. Over the past three years he has come to terms with his limitations, learning to follow the cues his body is giving him. Still, he has not given up hope that he might find treatment to improve his situation, and is experiencing slow progress that will hopefully allow his return to YouTube and Twitch.
Connect with Paco on Twitter @ThePacoShow, or YouTube and Twitch @TheIncrediblePaco. He also has a Twitter focused on his long COVID experience @PacoOnPause, and will soon be making TikTok content under that name as well.
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